5779 Rosh Hashanah / Feast of Trumpets / Yom Teruah

I have divided this Rosh Hashanah teaching into 4 Segments for ease of use.

  • Part 1 Prophecy

  • Part 2 Gospel of the Stars

  • Part 3 The Magi & The Birthday

  • Part 4 Traditions & End Times

 

Part 3 The Magi & The Birthday


9:00 Break 9
Here Come The Magi

David was king of Israel around the year 1,000BC. His kingdom split in two after his son Solomon died, and eventually the ten northern tribes of Israel fell in 723BC and were taken to Assyria and most were never heard from again.

126 years later (597 BC) the southern kingdom of Judah (this was the tribe of David and eventually Jesus) was taken into captivity to Babylon by Assyrian King Nebuchadnezzar. After the fall of Babylon to the Persian King Cyrus the Great in 539 BC, many returned home to Jerusalem. But many did not return, and instead made a life in Babylon.

The Magi were a class of hereditary scholar-priests who first appear in Babylon.
They were magicians, enchanters and astrologists.
Throughout their history most of them never stopped practicing the occult. Even today.

But some did. Some followed the true Living God.
And some still do. Why? How?

They were heavily influenced by some of the Jewish captives including Daniel.

The Bible says: King Nebuchadnezzar had a troubling dream and asked his astrologers and enchanters to tell him his dream and interpret its meaning.
“The astrologers answered the king, ‘There is not a man on earth who can do what the king asks!
No king, however great and mighty, has ever asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or astrologer.’ What the king asks is too difficult.
No one can reveal it to the king except the gods, and they do not live among humans.”
[They only had the occult – they were powerless]

God had anointed Daniel with the gift of interpreting dreams through the power of the Holy Spirit, and Daniel was able to describe and explain the king’s great prophetic dream.

Because of Daniel’s ability to interpret dreams and visions, he was appointed by Nebuchadnezzar and later by his son, Belshazzar, to be “chief of the magicians [master of the ‘Magi’], enchanters, astrologers, and diviners” (Daniel 5:11).

Daniel didn’t enchant, do astrology, or divine, but he continued to lead the Magi,
Serving in the courts of the Medes (King Darius) and the Persians (King Cyrus).

Astronomy (studying the heavens) should cause us to worship God: “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man?” (Psalm 8:3, 4).

In the Bible, we are introduced to a small group of the descendants of these Magi who visited Christ, and they were using prophetic scriptures,

So we can assume they had been more influenced by Daniel, and less by the other Magi and astrologers of Babylon, and were likely from the tribe of Judah.

They would have learned from Daniel the precise time the Messiah was to arrive, and that He would be cut off or crucified. Other prophecies would have led them to study the stars for more details.
“A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel” (Numbers 24:17).

There is even a tradition throughout the Middle East that Daniel provided funds for the Magi and for gifts for them to carry to the Messiah upon his birth.

What star did the Magi likely see to recognize Jesus was to be born?

In August of 3 BC, when Gad the King planet (also called Jupiter by that time) became visible above the eastern horizon as a morning star, it was seen by the Magi ‘in the rising.’
The bright new star appeared in the head of Comah (The baby of the Virgin Bethulah – Immanuel).

On August 12, Gad came into conjunction with Meni (also called Venus by that time), in the constellation of Ariel The Lion (the sign of Judah).
It would take over a year for the Magi to arrive in Bethlehem.

9:15 Break 10
A SIGN in Heaven

Revelation 12 – A SIGN in Heaven
A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun,
with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head.
She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth…

She gave birth to a Son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.
And her child was snatched up to God and to His throne.

Since the Son will rule all the nations with an iron scepter, we know it’s Jesus and the mother is then Mary.
This event with the sun and moon and crown never happened on earth, but it did in the Spirit.

Since we know that verse is speaking of the birth of Jesus – we can use it to see when He might have been born by examining the skies around the time BC became AD (Year 0).

If you can find a time when the sun, moon, planets, and key stars are in the positions mentioned in that verse, then it should tell up when He was born.
They looked for all the possible years anywhere near Year 0.

There are twelve signs of the Zodiac, so as the earth revolves about the sun, each sign is “clothed with the sun” for one twelfth of the year, or one month.

If that sign was speaking about Jesus being born to Mary, He would have to be born when Bethulah the Vigin was clothed with the sun, and that is during Tishri or September.

In the year 3 BC, the position of the Sun, as described in Revelation 12 could only have occurred August 27 through September 15.

In the year 3 B.C., the Sun and Moon were in the proper positions only one time, September 11th, beginning at 6:15pm (sunset) and lasted until 7:45pm (moonset).
The New Moon signaled the beginning of a new lunar month on Tishri 1.

Jesus was born on September 11th, 3 B.C.On Rosh Hashanah (the Feast of Trumpets).

Adam and Eve were created on Rosh Hashanah. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Samuel, and Jesus were all born on Rosh Hashanah.

Jesus was 30 years old at the time of His baptism. Luke tied this event to the 15th year of Tiberius Caesar (which was in 27-28 AD). This would then place the birth of Christ in 3 BC.

We can then also conclude that Jesus’ birth was not on the Feast of Tabernacles or on Passover, as some folks have proposed. 
Both the Feast of Tabernacles and Passover occur in the middle of lunar months; therefore, there can be no new moon, as required by Revelation 12:1-6.

Jesus could not have been born during any one of the three Pilgrim Feasts: Passover/Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, or Tabernacles.

These were times when all Jewish men in Israel were required by the Law to be in Jerusalem.
The Romans would not have selected any of the three primary festival seasons for a census in Israel, in order to increase compliance by the Jews.
Joseph and Mary went to Bethlehem, not to Jerusalem at the time of His birth!

So, there is no way to be 100% sure, but I think the evidence points to Jesus born on September 11th, 3 B.C. On Rosh Hashanah (the Feast of Trumpets).

When Did the Magi Arrive to See Jesus?

Matthew 2:9 “. . . the star they had seen in the East went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.”

Planets are sometimes called “wandering stars,” and may appear to be standing when compared to the backdrop of the stars, due to the rotation of the earth (that’s called retrogression).

Now remember, we are in B.C, before Year 0, so the numbers get smaller as time passes.

At the end of 2 BC (about 15 months after His birth), Gad appeared at its ordinary time for retrogression, directly over Bethlehem on December 25th. Just before dawn.

The planet stopped while in the middle of the constellation of Bethulah the Virgin – middle meaning the abdomen, where a woman carries a child in pregnancy.
It remained stationary for about six days. Why those 6 days?

Every year since 164BC the Jews have celebrated the cleansing of the temple by the Maccabees with an 8-day festival called Hanukkah, “the Feast of Lamps.”

Since we know John the Baptist was 6 months older than Jesus, He was born during Passover in the Spring

We know Gabriel appeared to Mary, and Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit sometime in December of 4 BC, Probably During The Festival Of Lights – Hanukkah.

So, it also seems the Magi arrived during Hanukkah in 2 B.C. right at the time we now celebrate
the birth of Jesus at Christmas. 

9:30 Break 11
Herod Shaking

Most Christians know Jesus was not born on December 25th.
This date was established by the Roman Catholic church around 360 AD, when they held a special mass to honor Christ, while the pagan world celebrated Saturnalia, a feast honoring the birth of their sun god.
As the church grew in power and Roman deities faded away, the church kept the day and it eventually became known as “Christ-Mass”.

Mass has two meanings for the Catholics

  • Originally it meant the victim of a Sacrifice – Death
  • Eventually it meant to be sent on a mission – Go

So, in one sense you can’t celebrate the birth of Jesus on Christmas without also focusing on His death.

There is actually a lot more to the Magi then we learn from their appearance in Luke.

After the Babylonians were conquered, the Magi still continued to rise, and were consulted by kings and rulers, and tutors to nobles and princes.

While most never stopped practicing the occult and were magicians, enchanters and astrologists
throughout their history.

Many of the Magi followed the God of Israel and their history and faith was quite different.

  • They were monotheistic (they believed in one God – like Israel)
  • They had an altar which burned with a perpetual flame kindled by God from heaven.
  • They had another altar where they offered blood sacrifices.
    They lit the fire to burn the sacrifice with the flame off the perpetual altar.
  • They ate the sacrifices (that’s unique to Passover).
  • They had a hereditary priesthood (like the Levites).

All of those standards are found in only one place – The Torah of Moses
They are the rules of the Levites and Israelites given to them directly by God

When the decree of Cyrus came that the Jews could go back to Israel, the majority of the Jews never went back.

They stayed in Babylon, intermingled and intermarried.

Some became rulers and some became Magi and retained their Jewish identity as the Tribe of Judah following the God of Israel.

At the time of Christ, in the Parthian-Persian Empire the ruling house was called the Megistanes. 
It was composed of Magi. One of their jobs was the selection of a king.

At the time of Christ, they had just deposed their king so they were looking for a new king for the Eastern Empire who could lead them against Rome.
They had fought Rome twice in the previous fifty-years.

Matthew 2:1-3
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled/disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.”

The visit of the Magi was not a visit from three guys on camels…they traveled with Persian cavalry.

And the timing for war was bad for Rome. Both Herod and Caesar Augustus were old. Tiberius, the commander of the Roman army had retired.

So, Herod was troubled (the word in Greek means shaking).

It’s likely that Herod had no idea that these Magi were probably Jews, or that they were probably from the tribe of Judah, and so probably related to Jesus.

When they got to Bethlehem, they worshipped Jesus. They saw more than just a king.
They recognized the Messiah they had heard about from the time of Daniel.
But the vast number of Jews in Israel were unaware.
Luke 2 tells us the Magi never returned to Herod and that led to a serious reaction:

Matthew 2:16
Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men.

Obviously he didn’t want to take any chances of the Magi returning later when the child grew up and crowning him king.

The Magi then disappeared back into Persia. Many of them have added all kinds of strange beliefs, But many are now Christians as a result of that journey 2000 years ago.

The descendants of the Magi now live in Eastern Turkey and Syria and are called Kurds.

9:45   Break 12
A Birthday Party

2000 Years Ago in a Bethlehem Field

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields,
keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.
Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David

a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

How did the shepherds find Jesus with such odd vague directions?

First, the Hebrew would have been,
You will find the Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in The Manger.
Adding a instead of the was a choice of modern translators.

The shepherds of Bethlehem were in charge of raising sheep for the temple sacrifices.
Every lamb born there made its way to Jerusalem to be sacrificed.
These shepherds knew that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem.

Where in Bethlehem
Just northeast of the shepherd’s fields are the ruins of ancient Bethlehem Ephratah,
near a place called Migdal Eder – near the tomb of Rachel.

Micah 4:8 “And you, O Tower of the Flock (in Hebrew, Migdal Eder [mig-dale e-dar]),
the stronghold of the daughter of Zion, unto you shall it come, even the first dominion;
the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem”
Meaning, a king would be born at Migdal Eder to a girl from the line of David.

At the base of the Migdal Eder watchtower was a special birthing room called The Manger, for birthing these very special sacrificial lambs.

It wasn’t a manger, it was a very specific room called The Manger.

The shepherds were trained as children what was required for each sheep to be worthy of sacrifice.

During lambing season, the sheep were brought to the watchtower from the fields.

Being themselves under special rabbinical care,
these priests would strictly maintain a ceremonially clean birthing place.

They would wrap the newborn lambs in Swaddling Clothes, to prevent them from thrashing about and harming themselves.
It was their job to make sure that the animals weren’t damaged or blemished.

After the lambs had calmed down, they could be inspected to make sure they were without spot or blemish.

These shepherds weren’t random. They were notified by the angels because it was their calling to certify Passover lambs at birth.

We know they end up in the right place, but how did the shepherds find Jesus with only three vague clues?

  1. A newborn baby
  2. Swaddling cloths
  3. The Manger

A typical home in that time, had a dug out area below the house where they kept the animals.

To find a specific place, you would need some kind of directions.

The Angels declaration to the Bethlehem Shepherds could only mean
“The Manger” at the base of the Tower of the Flock.

Being “wrapped in swaddling clothes” would only be a significant clue
if the angels were referring to a Passover Lamb.

  • Newborn babies had been wrapped in swaddling cloths
    long before the time of Jesus; it was common,
    so it was not a good clue unless it was the cloths used by the Shepherd Priests

The Inn
There is another verse that causes some confusion with the way it’s been translated.

“And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in the manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”

The word translated as “Inn” is Katalyma – ka-tall-e-mah
It means guest chamber not an inn.

  • A Kataluma would have been a guest room in the family home in Bethlehem
    that Mary and Joseph would stay in when they visited.
    At least three times a year for the Feasts – like every other Jew
  • Both Joseph and Mary were direct descendants of King David,
    whose lineage and property went back to Boaz (who married Ruth).
  • Boaz owned a home with a threshing floor in Bethlehem which, by right of inheritance, was handed down to succeeding generations
  • Joseph, was of David’s lineage through his son Solomon.
    Mary, was of David’s lineage through his son Nathan (brother of Solomon).
  • These guys are from the royal line

Unclean Not Unwanted

Is there any good reason a pregnant Jewish woman couldn’t stay in their family home during a High Feast Day?

  • According to the Torah, when a woman had an issue of blood for any reason, like pregnancy, she was ritually unclean for that time and for seven days after.
  • She had to live separately so as not to defile the people in the household by her presence. (Leviticus 15:19-23).
  • So “no room” actually means something very different.
  • The Jews are very family oriented – they all live together

That story, translated that way, would be offensive anywhere.

Would her family, who loved her, send her to give birth in a filthy stable of animals.

  • Prophecies about the Messiah tell us He “would be revealed from Migdal Eder”.
  • We don’t know the exact circumstances of how and why they ended up there, when the guest room option wouldn’t work.
  • It certainly wasn’t filthy and the midwives (shepherds) were very experienced.
  • There is much more to the story
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One thought

  • Brian Wachter

    Ya’ll just nailed it! How much more is there in this than in our American traditions of “Hallmark” Christmas? To think also, the light had to travel for how many light years to reach those magi? God had an ancient plan, founded in the foundations of star dust. He designed it for His transcendence of time and space! I’m so glad that I found this, this morning. I’ve always had a fascination with stars and astronomy. They pointed me to the Lord when I was a child. This is, simply, the best! We have the perfect window to see a night sky and know that HE IS LORD.

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